A Great Man?

Entry by: Briergate

23rd November 2017
Pyongyang, 1984

They came, and more came still, crowds
lining mud-clogged banks, dark heads bowed
and tears combining, falling to the Taedong
and trailed branches of the willow wept
as if in empathy; gnarled streams of grief

as the procession neared, their voices
swelled and gained a solid shape of sound,
Dear Leader, Dear Leader, the chant
climbed above the crowd into the sky
the army pushed them back, fighting
to achieve a measured space between
visible, transparent grief, and ingrained duty;
arms raised and supplicant to stem the ebb.

His coffin was adorned with flowers
and hundreds of his followers trooped
with measured, uniformed and echoed steps,
an escort of paid sorrow.

As if he could still hear in death,
Kim Il Sung’s passing caused the crowd
to amplify in torrid, baying cries
a nationalistic anthem, instinct, a
learned repeated requiem of loss.

How can we truly understand the
reason why they cried? The tears were real.

Perhaps they wept in fear, for quietude
and death became synonymous that day.

The surging, screaming wails eclipsed
the tortured rumbling of a million shrunken,
empty stomachs; frightened, empty lives.